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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 21-28

Fish oil and prevention of atrial fibrillation: An appraisal of the evidence

1 Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
2 School of Biology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA
3 Department of Internal Medicine, Mount Carmel Health System, Columbus, Ohio, USA

Correspondence Address:
Mahmoud Houmsse
Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1947-489X.210846

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Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia. In the absence of optimal rhythm control therapy, due to lack of satisfaction of currently available membrane-acting antiarrhythmics and limited availability of ablative therapy, upstream therapies to prevent atrial fibrillation are emerging as a new pharmacologic strategy. Long chain n-3 (omega-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) from fish have been suggested to account for these benefits. Multiple observational, clinical, and experimental studies have shown that regular fish consumption has a favorable effect on preventing AF. Experimental studies have shown a potential antiarrhythmic, antifibrotic and antiinflammatory effect of PUFAs on atrial tissues. This effect on the atrial substrate will lower atrial tissue vulnerability for development of atrial fibrillation. Recent prospective studies regarding the preventive benefit of PUFAs on post open-heart surgery AF showed mixed results. The purpose of this treatise is to review available studies of PUFA effects on AF and outline benefits of the PUFAs as an upstream therapy to prevent AF.

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